Sad way to start a season..
With the terrible news earlier this week with Brandon Roy retiring, Greg Oden suffering ANOTHER set back,and Lamarcus Aldridge's heart problem, all there is left for us fans to do is believe. All of the NBA columnists are telling us it is a rebuilding year, or it is another "one and done" in the playoffs. Well for me, I don't see it as a rebuilding year. We had the same line-up at this time last year. No Brandon Roy or Greg Oden. The only difference is we have a much younger point guard in Raymond Felton than we did in Andre Miller. Also Rudy Fernandez was on the team last year, who we are better off without. Although Andre Miller was more skill minded, Raymond Felton will be a better option in the future. Despite how old and wise Andre Miller is, Raymond Felton is the next best thing. Like I was saying, our roster is pretty much the same from last year, but we have more athletic new players that will contribute more than Luke Babbit and Armon Johnson did last year. I am talking about Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams and Chris Johnson.
The Dukie. Nolan Smith
Most of you saw Nolan Smith's incredible season last year at Duke. He averaged 20.6 points and 5.1 assists with a 45.8 FG %. He was an All-American with the very skilled and talented Kemba Walker, Jimmer Freddete, Nolan Smith, Jared Sullinger, and JaJuan Johnson. Nolan Smith has a very smart basketball IQ and will be a big contributor off the bench behind Wesley Matthews and Elliot WIlliams.
As for Williams, he will be a humongous contributor. Last season, he didn't play in any games because of a knee surgery on both knees. Williams is very athletic, has tremendous hops, and is in good shape. His shooting from long range is a little rusty but that is alright.
The Tall stick. Chris Johnson
And then there is Chris Johnson. An energy builder in the games and a true hard worker in practice. Last year in the playoffs, Johnson provided a huge spark off the bench in the games against the NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks. Chris is a pretty skinny boy. But he gained 20 pounds over this long off-season and he is stronger and will be a great guy when we need energy.
2011-2012 Roster so far..
Looking at this roster. I don't see how everyone is doubting us. It is the same people but..BETTER!
And the newest Blazer... Kurt Thomas. (there is more but these are the ones not retiring and not hurt.)
Last season Playoffs
I will get to Kurt Thomas in a bit, just keep reading :) First, lets talk about our playoff performance last season. As you guys already know, the Dallas Mavericks beat us in the first round of the playoffs in 6 games. But! we gave them a good fight, with the amazing Game 4 4th quarter comeback and holding the champions to 6 games. The Mavericks said that we, the 6th seed in the western conference, were the toughest team they faced in the playoffs. That is saying something considering they played the big three in the Miami Heat in the finals. If we were the toughest team the "champions" faced than think of how good we will be this year!
Now for the newest Blazer...Kurt Thomas. A 6'9 Center that played 52 games with the Bulls last season. Nate McMillan said it best, “We need experience. We need a big man. And we need someone who knows how to play," That is exactly what Kurt Thomas is. Off the bench, he will give us some good rebounds in place for Camby and Lamarcus when they need a rest. He is a great screen setter, and we will get a lot more open shots than we have been. His career stats aren't mind boggling but they will do. 7.6 PPG and 5.8 RPG. Not bad i guess. He sounds like a pretty good option off the bench. But i forgot to tell you he is the oldest player in the NBA at 39. With Camby, we will have the oldest rotation in the NBA! that isn't a good thing to be proud of. We will see if his age is a factor for this season.
My prediction for this season is we will be a tad bit better than last, but not over the top. I believe we will still be the 6Th seed like last, but this time get out of the first round and then end in the second. Hopefully we progress a little but more as each season goes by. I am so excited for the season to start, and i hope that you guys do the same as me. Believe.